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Book Reviews
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                             STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer
by Liani Taylor

-You can find this book here.

A young man and woman dream amid violence’s aftermath in this intense series opener.

Twenty-year-old orphaned librarian Lazlo Strange, whose brutish exterior conceals his cleverness, dreams of stories of a lost city. Two hundred years ago, six merciless, magic-wielding Mesarthim landed their seraphim-shaped citadel in the legendary city, blocking its skies and cutting it off from the outside world. Fifteen years ago, the Godslayer Eril-Fane ended their reign of terror with the Carnage, and now the city is known only as Weep. Seeking to restore the skies to Weep, reluctant leader Eril-Fane recruits scientists from the world beyond Weep—and bemusedly welcomes Lazlo—to move the allegedly abandoned citadel. But the long-silent structure instead holds five surviving godspawn, gifted offspring of captured humans and cruel gods, equally traumatized by the massacre. Red-haired, blue-skinned 17-year-old Sarai is a dreamer like Lazlo but fears nightmares even as she inflicts them on the citizens below. Besides literal ghosts, Weep is also haunted by loss—lost memories, lost history, and lost half-blood children. Taylor’s lengthy, mesmerizing epic offers an exotic Middle Eastern–esque world with invented words, biology, and mythology, populated by near-humans and strange creatures. The plot (endlessly dilated by dream sequences) is split between the lovers and then again among other narrators, rendered in delirious and sensuous, if repetitive, language. Weep becomes a laboratory in which Taylor examines slavery, trauma, memory, and appropriation, ending this first installment with a cliffhanger that leaves readers wondering if healing is even remotely possible.

Lovers of intricate worldbuilding and feverish romance will find this enthralling. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Review found here.

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                             TWO DARK REIGNS by Kendare Blake

Two Dark Reigns
by Kendare Blake

-You can find this book here.

In the third entry in a pitch-black fantasy quartet, everyone acts with the best of intentions—and everything goes terribly, terribly wrong.

Katharine, newly Queen Crowned of Fennbirn, just wants a peaceful, prosperous reign, but the people fear her, the vengeful spirits strengthening her urge ever more dreadful deeds, and even the eldritch mist protecting the island has seemingly turned against its inhabitants. Jules Milone wishes only to learn more about her cursed legion gift, but the warriors and oracles insist she lead their rebellion, defying the prophecy that she may be the island’s doom. Mirabella and Arsinoe try desperately to conform to the patriarchal culture of their mainland refuge, but visions of a centuries-gone Blue Queen demand their return. The barrage of intrigue, betrayals, spells, portents, and grisly violence unleashed in this volume almost overwhelms, as multiple viewpoints follow several intertwining plotlines, both epic and intimate, across present and past. Blake’s (One Dark Throne, 2017, etc.) elegant, understated prose unfolds new facets of the island’s culture, revealing sinister truths behind pious legends. The richly-drawn characters default to white and mostly heterosexual (although at least one culture celebrates bisexuality). Some take comfort in male lovers living or dead, but the narrative is mostly driven by the complicated relationships between strong, vibrant women: mothers and daughters, friends and rivals, Goddess and priestess, and—above all—sisters.

Tragic, devastating, horrifying, enthralling. (cast of characters, map) (Fantasy. 14 -adult)

Review found here.

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                             BROKEN THINGS by Lauren Oliver

Broken Things
by Lauren Oliver

-You can find this book here.

Friendship and fandom turn deadly for a group of teen girls.

Quiet Mia, brash Brynn, and beautiful Summer—three 13-year-old friends living in rural Vermont—all bonded over their love of an obscure children’s fantasy book The Way Into LovelornLovelorn has a famous midsentence ending, and the girls decide to compose their own fanfiction to imagine its resolution. However, when Summer is brutally murdered, Mia and Brynn (along with their friend Owen) are wrongfully accused of the crime, propelling the teens into unfortunate infamy with the moniker The Monsters of Brickhouse Lane. Five years later, they reunite to try to catch Summer’s murderer. Alternating chapters, which jump between Mia’s and Brynn’s perspectives from when they were 13 and the present, also include snippets of metafictitious Lovelorn and bits of the girls’ fanfiction. Although many other offerings have examined the turbulent machinations of teen girls, Oliver (Ringer, 2017, etc.) nimbly navigates the obsessive and erratic bonds the girls forge; mercurial Summer vacillates from charming to malicious, bewildering the others. While the characters are deftly portrayed, the mystery meanders into contrivance and convenience. Expect readers to have much to discuss with a provocative and divisive conclusion that may frustrate those who prefer a tidy resolution. While all characters are assumed white, Brynn is a lesbian, and a secondary character is fat-positive and pansexual.

A page-turner for sure, but this meta romp teeters into preciousness. (Mystery. 14-adult)

Review found here.

November Poll

Teen Test Kitchen
Oreo Blind Taste Test
 
We'll be tasting 12 different kinds of Oreo cookies 
and ranking their flavors!
Bring a friend and have some fun.
Grades 6-12   |   Thursday, Nov 8   |   4:00-5:00 pm
Register here!


Check out our great selections of YA Audio Books!
https://centralpalibraries.overdrive.com/library/teens/collections/featured/2